More regional Australians will have the option to receive aged care services within their community after the Government announced it’s expanding the number of flexible aged care places in regional and remote settings.
Up to 100 new flexible aged care places are on offer for Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) – organisations that provide both health and aged care services – who will have to apply for a set allocation of places by June 8, 2023.
Currently, 28 MPS providers manage 3739 flexible aged care places across 180 sites. These services are in place as many regional communities cannot sustain separate hospital and aged care services due to limited funding and facilities.
Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, said the MPS Program provides invaluable funding that supports older people who want to be cared for in their own community.
“Older people should be able to access quality aged care services no matter where they live in Australia,” Minister Wells said.
“Multi-Purpose Services play a valuable part in our aged care system and mean rural residents don’t have to move away from their family and friends to access aged care.
“Adding 100 more MPS places gives older people in rural regions the peace of mind that they’ll be able to be cared for in their own community.”
The MPS Program is a joint initiative between the Australian, State and Territory Governments, designed to give older people better access to flexible and integrated acute, sub-acute, emergency and aged care services in one place.
MPS sites often provide hospital beds, aged care beds and respite places for older people who don’t want to move away from family and support networks.
MPS providers can also use the funding to deliver new services or upgrade infrastructure to ensure local residents can receive appropriate care on-site.
More than $40 million in funding has been allocated to new and existing MPS sites over the past two years, and the additional 100 flexible aged care places may benefit a number of existing aged care residents who could be impacted by impending aged care facility closures, such as those in Byron Bay or Bundaberg.
The new places could also assist in reducing the impact of workforce shortages in regional locations, as facilities may be able to utilise the services of a Registered Nurse for both health and aged care.
Last year, $6.9 million was distributed as 99 new residential aged care places were allocated to three providers across five regional locations last year, including the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (Harden & Holbrook NSW), Torke and Northern Local Health Network (Peterborough & Orroroo SA) and Queensland Health in Jandowae.